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Citizen Mommy

In the so-called Mommy Wars played out between mothers in the workforce and mothers at home, a key flash point has centered on volunteerism: Stay-at-home mothers complain that they have been stuck with carrying more than their fair share of community and charity work. In her latest data-packed book, The Private Roots of Public Action: Gender, Equality, and Political Participation, written with Harvard University's Sidney Verba and the University of Michigan's Nancy Burns, Boston College political science professor Kay Schlozman uncovers the surprising truth. In most volunteer settings, working mothers of all types are better represented than non-working mothers. The one exception: local school and other youth-related activities. There, college-educated, married, working mothers are slightly less visible than their stay-at-home peers.

Volunteer rates of mothers with school-age children

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MARRIED OR SINGLE

Working full time:
Local Politics: 24%
Charities: 48%
PTA, Youth groups: 44%

Stay at home:
Local Politics: 15%
Charities: 39%
PTA, Youth groups: 33%

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MARRIED

Working full time:
Local Politics: 27%
Charities: 47%
PTA, Youth groups: 48%

Stay at home:
Local Politics: 17%
Charities: 42%
PTA, Youth groups: 42%


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MARRIED, WITH COLLEGE DEGREE

Working full time:
Local Politics: 46%
Charities: 80%
PTA, Youth groups: 46%

Stay at home:
Local Politics: 38%
Charities: 58%
PTA, Youth groups: 52%

Adapted from
The Private Roots of Public Action: Gender, Equality, and Political Participation (Harvard, 2001)



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